CONCORD – Jay M. Robinson’s football home opener was filled with hope early, but that hope was quashed by the powerful right arm of Monroe senior quarterback Matt Bennett, as the Redhawks downed the Cream of Cabarrus No. 6 Bulldogs, 47-14, on Friday.
Bennett tossed five touchdown passes, finding holes in the Jay M. Robinson secondary with multiple long-range targets to Monroe’s talented receiving corps. The loss continues a disappointing early season stretch for coach Rich Williams team.
“We made too many mistakes offensively in the first half,” Williams said. “We played better offensively in the second half, but on the flip side, we played pretty good defense in the first half. But in the second, we gave up too many big plays.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the first half, which was marked by two lost Jay M. Robinson fumbles that resulted in touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs showed some explosiveness in the running game, particularly on an electrifying 51-yard run by quarterback Joshua Grant Jr.
The Redhawks rolled in the second half behind their trio of wide receivers in highly recruited sophomore Shaleak Knotts, junior Jordan Black and senior Salen Streater.
“(The Redhawks) have explosive athletes, and we didn’t keep up with them,” Williams said.
Jay M. Robinson 1-2 overall, 0-0 in Southern Piedmont 3A Conference; Monroe 2-1, 0-0 Southern Carolina 3A
THE PLAY OF THE GAME
After a beautiful throw and catch by Monroe’s Bennett to WR Jordan Black, Jay M. Robinson linebacker Nick Coats recovered a forced fumble and returned it all the way to the Redhawks’ 1-yard line, where he was stripped of the ball by a host of Redhawk tacklers. Monroe recovered the fumble, and one play later, Bennett connected with Streater on a 99-yard catch and run in which the Redhawk beat two defenders on a comeback out-raced the secondary to the end zone.
Jay M. Robinson
-- Grant showed impressive running ability and speed in the open field, with long runs of 51, 29 and 19 yards, one for a TD. He also showed good arm strength on a couple of well thrown deep balls.
-- A trio of running backs showed their ability to pound the ball for the Bulldogs, with senior Andre Hamilton, junior Terrance Chapman and sophomore AJ Howard all getting carries. Hamilton’s 9-yard TD run showed his speed and ability to find the end zone.
--Linebackers Coats and Josiah Jackson were both effective at stopping the run and pressuring the Redhawks in the backfield.
-- Streater had a great night with two impressive TD catches and an interception.
-- Knotts showed why is a a coveted Division I recruit with two touchdown receptions and a flashy, 47-yard streak down the sideline on a reverse.
-- If the Bulldogs can eliminate their mistakes, they can be a tough opponent when it comes time for conference play. A couple of untimely fumbles, including Monroe’s recovery of a pooch kickoff, turned the momentum of the game after halftime.
-- It’s not often you face a 6-foot-7, 330-pound junior lineman, but Monroe’s Omarion Huntly towered over all the rest of the players and will be a force to be reckoned with as his game continues to develop.
-- Although it was a short halftime performance the JMR band sounded amazing.
WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Jay M. Robinson plays host to Cuthbertson in a non-conference game next Friday, while Monroe welcomes archrival Forest Hills.
Robinson 0 7 7 0 -- 14
Monroe 7 6 27 7 -- 47
M – Salen Streater 99 pass from Matt Bennet (Chris Aldon kick)
M – Fumble recovery in end zone (kick blocked)
JMR – Andre Hamilton 9 run (Braden Hamilton kick)
M - Streater 45 pass from Bennett (run failed)
M - Streater 27 pass from Bennett (kick Aldon)
JMR – Joshua Grant Jr. 19 run (Hamilton kick)
M – Shaleak Knotts 16 pass from Bennett (Aldon kick)
M – Knotts 22 pass from Bennett (Aldon kick)